luz and nicole and felicia in wash dcLa EHC cree que el papel adecuado del gobierno es de proteger los derechos humanos y ambientales. Además de trabajar localmente, también trabajamos a niveles estatales y nacionales para fomentar políticas y reglamentos gubernamentales que protegen la salud humana y el ambiente. Muchos de estos esfuerzos son en cooperación con nuestros aliados en la Alianza por la Justicia Ambiental de California (California Environmental Justice Alliance – CEJA).

Los actuales esfuerzos de la EHC con CEJA incluyen California Energy Policy y Green Zones for Environmental and Economic Sustainability. Estas son iniciativas amplias que benefician a muchas comunidades que carecen de justicia ambiental.

La AB32, la Ley de California de Soluciones para el Calentamiento Global aprobada por los legisladores de California en 2006, creó una oportunidad para poner al estado al frente de la reducción de emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. Hay un gran potencial para reducir la contaminación y para el fuerte crecimiento en la economía de energía verde. La EHC y CEJA trabajan para asegurar que las comunidades de bajo ingreso se beneficien de estas políticas.

La iniciativa de Green Zones creará la asignación federal para barrios o grupos de barrios que enfrentan las vulnerabilidades de los impactos acumulativos ambientales, sociales, políticos, y económicos. Las comunidades asignadas como Green Zones tendrían acceso a beneficios a nivel estatal y federal. Esto aseguraría que las comunidades más impactadas por los peligros ambientales y estresantes económicos reciban los recursos y apoyo que tanto necesitan.

Aunque no es una estrategia principal, la EHC trabajará con legisladores estatales y nacionales para redactar y presentar legislación especifica. Algunos ejemplos incluyen:

Military Environmental Responsibility Act

Lead Free Candy – Estado de California

Más a menudo, la EHC trabaja para influir en las políticas e iniciativas de votantes que tienen un impacto más amplio en nuestras comunidades de enfoque.

Ambiental de California Justicia del Comité Asesor

Proposición 32

military san diegoThe US military is a major force in San Diego County. It controls 47% of San Diego Bay tidelands, including the largest naval base on the west coast located between National City and Barrio Logan. Other military facilities range from the southern tip of the county in Imperial Beach to Camp Pendleton at its most northern portion, from Point Loma and Coronado on the Pacific Ocean to the Marine Air Base at Miramar at the eastern edge of the City.

The Department of Defense is also one the nation's leading polluters, yet they avoid full regulation and accountability via various exemptions. In 2000, EHC worked with Congressman Bob Filner to draft the Military Environmental Responsibility Act, federal legislation that would subject the military to the same federal, environmental, worker and public safety laws that govern all other industrial and commercial operation.

Although the MERA legislation was not enacted, it brought national attention to this issue of unjust exemptions. The military is increasingly being held to the same regulations as the private and other governmental sectors.

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice was formed in 2001 to help Cal/EPA incorporate environmental justice into all of its programs and policies. EHC's Executive Director, Diane Takvorian, served as co-chair of the Advisory Committee.

On September 29, 2003, more than 250 community residents representing many of the state's low-income communities and communities of color traveled to Oakland. For more than eight hours they testified in favor of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee.

Three key recommendations called for Cal/EPA to recognize the significant burden of toxics and pollution on impacted communities. The advisory committee recommended that Cal/EPA:

  • Use a precautionary approach: A precautionary approach to decision making means that regulations should prevent harm when there is credible evidence that harm is occurring, or is likely to occur – even when complete scientific evidence or proof is not available – in drafting and enforcing regulations.
  • Prioritize pollution prevention over pollution control: All too often communities of color have been left feeling sorry by pollution control – sorry for their lost health and quality of life.
  • Evaluate the cumulative impacts of toxics in an impacted community when making regulatory decisions. This process requires that the health effects of all sources of pollution be taken into consideration when determining the impact of pollution in individuals, communities, and the environment.

The landmark environmental justice policies were adopted by Cal/EPA. EHC and California Environmental Justice Alliance continue to advocate for inclusion of the policies in all Cal/EPA efforts. In 2005, we achieved passage of the first state air pollution rule which requires a buffer zone between a polluting industries and sensitive receptors.

On February 16, 2005, the Cal/EPA Secretary and the heads of the Cal/EPA Boards, Departments and Offices approved the following definitions of cumulative impacts and precautionary approaches for use in the environmental justice pilot projects.

Cumulative impacts means exposures, public health or environmental effects from the combined emissions and discharges, in a geographic area, including environmental pollution from all sources, whether single or multi-media, routinely, accidentally, or otherwise released. Impacts will take into account sensitive populations and socio-economic factors, where applicable and to the extent data are available.

Precautionary approaches means taking anticipatory action to protect public health or the environment if a reasonable threat of serious harm exists based upon the best available science and other relevant information, even if absolute and undisputed scientific evidence is not available to assess the exact nature and extent of risk.

EHC believes that the proper role of government is to protect human and environmental rights. In addition to working locally, we also work at the state and national levels to promote government policies and regulations that protect human health and the environment. Many of these efforts are in cooperation with our allies in the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA).

EHC's current efforts with CEJA include the California Energy Policy and the Green Zones. These are far reaching initiatives that can benefit many environmental justice communities.

AB32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act passed by the California legislature in 2006, created an opportunity to put the State at the forefront of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There is great potential for pollution reduction and a booming green energy economy. EHC and CEJA work to make certain low-income communities benefit from these policies.

The Green Zone initiative will create a federal designation for neighborhoods or clusters of neighborhoods that face the cumulative impacts of environment, social, political and economic vulnerability. Communities with Green Zone designations would be able to access benefits at state and feral levels. This would ensure that those communities most highly impacted by environmental hazards and economic stressors receive much needed resources and support.

For more information about these efforts, click on the CEJA link above.

While not a primary strategy, EHC will work with state and national legislators to develop and introduce specific legislation.

Military Environmental Responsibility Act

Lead Free Candy – State of California (link to Lead-Free Candy Page)

More frequently, EHC works to influence policies and voter initiatives that have broad impact on our target communities.

California Environmental Justice Advisory Committee

Stop 23

cejaEnvironmental Health Coalition is a member of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. The other members are:

  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network
  • Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice
  • Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment
  • Communities for a Better Environment
  • People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Right

The mission of the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) is to strengthen the progressive environmental justice movement in California by building on the local organizing efforts and advocacy successes of our member organizations to achieve state policy change. CEJA focuses on California's communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley, the Los Angeles region, the Inland Valleys, and the San Diego/Tijuana Border region. CEJA works to achieve environmental justice by organizing in low-income communities and communities of color – those most impacted by environmental hazards – and by pushing for policies at the federal, state, regional and local levels that protect public health. Working together, CEJA's members organizations are building a movement for health and justice.

For more information about EHC's work with CEJA, click on the following reports and newsletter:

Building Healthy Communities from the Ground Up

Values for a Robust Distribution Generation Program in California

Green Zones for Economic and Environmental Sustainability

CEJA December 2011 Newsletter

  • CEJA turns up the heat on renewable energy policy
  • CEJA stands in solidarity with Occupy Movement
  • Green Zones team goes to Washington
  • Climate change fund for communities put on hold
  • CEJA members in the news – fighting Cap and Trade, warehouses and demanding equitable transportation planning

girl-pinataProtect your Child - Buy these Certified Lead-Free Candies

Lead is known to cause permanent and serious damage to children. It may still be found in many consumer products, including candy. The lead comes from ingredients, contaminated equipment and ink on candy wrappers.

In October 2005, the EHC Healthy Kids Campaign won passage of the first state law to ban the sale of lead-contaminated candies, generally imported from other countries, which significantly threaten children's health. This victory was the culmination of a three-year campaign that started with an EHC leader discovering the presence of lead in her child's candy. Implementation of the law is being monitored by EHC and enhanced by a settlement of EHC's Prop 65 lawsuit against major candy manufacturers.

Today, most candy is safe to eat. You can view the latest lead-in-candy results from the California Department of Public Health by clicking here.

For more information, download this list of certified lead-safe candy (in Spanish).